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Falmouth Firefighter Honored For Individual Heroism

Posted in: Top Stories, Falmouth News
Dec 5, 2008 - 5:15:05 PM
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FALMOUTH- Falmouth Firefighter Christopher H. Brown received a “Firefighter of the Year Award” from Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Wednesday.
Mr. Brown was one of a number of firefighters from communities around the commonwealth to be honored during the annual Firefighter of the Year awards.
The award for Individual Meritorious Conduct was presented to Mr. Brown, 40, for his actions on May 17, when he attempted to save a construction worker trapped in an attic fire in North Falmouth.
Mr. Brown, who attended the ceremony with his wife, Danielle, and their first-grade son, has been in the department since 1997.
The family lives on Robinson Road in Falmouth center. 
Mr. Brown was born and raised in Falmouth. Growing up, he lived behind the East Falmouth fire station and used to enjoy watching the firefighters go off to duty. He decided at a young age that firefighting was something he wanted to pursue when he was older.
 After high school, Mr. Brown left Falmouth to serve in the United States Marines as an aviation electrician, and upon his return he became a partner in a Sandwich-based food distribution company.
After the official ceremony Wednesday, Fire Chief Paul D. Brodeur presented Mr. Brown with the individual medal of valor, which is the highest award a local firefighter can receive. 
On May 17, Mr. Brown was the first to the scene of the fire at a North Falmouth home. While his partner was securing a water source, Mr. Brown rushed to the attic where a construction worker was trapped by the black smoky fire.
The worker was spraying insulation in the attic at the time the fire started.
Without the assistance of a partner, a hose line or ventilation, Mr. Brown entered the attic through a small scuttle hole and attempted to find the worker.
Falmouth Fire Deputy Chief Glen A. Rogers said Monday that the smoke was so dense there was zero visibility, and Mr. Brown could not have seen the victim even if he had had a thermal camera because of the superheated temperatures.
By following the worker’s insulation cord he was able to locate the victim on the opposite side of the attic.
Mr. Brown then pulled the unconscious man across the attic and lowered him to waiting firefighters below.
The construction worker, Robert Cowhey, 41, of Springfield, was pronounced dead at Falmouth Hospital a short time later.
According to Deputy Rogers, the foam insulation applied by a hose that heats two chemicals together to create the insulation is highly flammable before it is applied.
Mr. Brown has been out on disability since the rescue for a back injury he sustained while trying to pull Mr. Cowhey out of the building. Deputy Rogers said they expect Mr. Brown to recover and return to duty.